The only thing worse than violence is violence that gets ignored

The only thing worse than violence is violence that gets ignored

The story of the Vaughan condo shooting is horrifying on so many levels. But none is worse than knowing the perpetrator had been violent for years — and allowed to continue being violent until he got stopped by a cop’s bullet after he’d shot six people, killing five.

I don’t want to hear a word about thoughts and prayers. I want people to shake themselves out of their complacency and recognize that some men are violent and deal with them before it’s too late. They’re not even hiding their violence. It’s right there for anyone to see. All you have to do is line up your eyeballs with your eye sockets and remove the blindfold. 

If you’ve followed the story you already know the shooter had been threatening the people he wound up killing for some time. There were court proceedings and all manner of procedures undertaken by his victims as they attempted to protect themselves from his violence. It was not enough to stop him. 

That’s because the court system is not designed to stop violent men from hurting people. It’s only good, more or less, at prosecuting them once its too late. 

Yeah, you bet I’m angry. 

I knew, after reading one story detailing the background of the shooter, that this man had a long history of violence. Why? Because normal people don’t just one day wake up and shoot people to death. Only violent people do that. 

Excuse me. That’s not precise enough. 

Only violent men do that. 

Mass shootings, defined as a shooting incident that kills four or more people, are almost literally never perpetrated by anyone other than men. Mostly white men, too. 

Of the 172 individuals who engaged in public mass shootings covered in the database, 97.7% were male. Ages ranged from 11 to 70, with a mean age of 34.1. Those  shooting were 52.3% White, 20.9% Black, 8.1% Latino, 6.4% Asian, 4.2% Middle Eastern, and 1.8% Native American. [source]

Violent people have a history of being violent. Violent people, and violent men especially, do not hide their violence. They express it out loud. Mostly to their family. 

The estranged adult daughters of the Vaughan shooter told reporters their father was abusive, controlling and violent towards them and their mother. 

As someone who’s had more than a fair share of experience with abusive, controlling and violent men over a number of decades, I was not surprised one bit by what the shooter’s daughters said. 

Abusive and controlling behaviour in intimate relationships is violence that’s only now starting to be recognized by the legal system. A House of Commons committee reporton this subject, published in early 2021, should be required reading for anyone who thinks they have something to say about violence. 

Amendments to the Divorce Act that came into force in March 2021 impose a duty to judges and lawyers to take into consideration family violence when deciding what the best interest of children is, and the Act is quite clear that “violence” includes controlling and coercive behaviour. There is even a court case in Ontario where the judge stripped a man of his parenting rights because his long history of coercive behaviour would be detrimental to the child. 

Things are, at long last, starting to move at least in some small pockets here and there. 

About fucking time. Just to be clear, a man who tries to control what his spouse and/or children do is committing a criminal offence in this country. The problem? It never gets prosecuted and violent men, not unreasonably, get the message that their behaviour is tolerated. 

Avec les résultats que l’on sait. You only have to look at the stats on the number of women and children killed by those men to know we have a serious problem that’s only been getting worse since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Abuse, control and coercion aren’t a precursor to violence. They are violence. The sooner we get that, the sooner we start prosecuting men (OK, anyone; but statistically it’s mostly men) who engage in that sort of behaviour, the sooner we stop having to cry and offer bullshit thoughts and prayers to the families of murder victims.